Monday, July 17, 2006

What was he thinking?

No, this is not about Zidane and his head butt. I refer instead to Juan Pablo Montoya's decision to quit Formula-1 and signing up with Chip Ganassi's Nascar team. Such a move is, to say the least, befuddling. It is unheard of. It is, in fact, unprecedented (there's no precedent, baby!)

Which brings us to the question 'why'. Why did he do it? What would have compelled Montoya to willingly become the laughing stock of the entire F-1 fraternity (not to mention the fans)? At first I thought it might be the money. But top Nascar drivers earn between 5-7 million, while McLaren is paying Montoya 14 million per season. So that can't be it. Maybe, I reckoned then, he just needed a break. But a break from what? It's not like he's conquered one frontier and is moving on to another. The best he's ever managed in F-1 is a third place in the Championship some three years ago. Not like he's Michael Schumacher (or for that matter Fernando Alonso) or something. No, that can't be it either.

That left me with the only logical explanation[1]: the Dodge Charger (Montoya's Nascar ride) is quite simply a better car than the McLaren Mercedes MP4-21. Of course! That must be it. Why couldn't I see it earlier? It all makes perfect sense now.

ps: If someone has a better explanation, please let me know. I'd love to hear it.

[1] As Sherlock Holmes famously quoted "When you have eliminated all other contingencies, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

Update: Swami suggests that Montoya must have lost a bad bet to a Colombian drug-lord (like backing South Korea to win the World cup), and now has to make up for it.


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